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Authors: Robin Brande

The Good Lie

BOOK: The Good Lie
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By Robin Brande



Ryer Publishing

Copyright 2014 by Robin Brande

Kindle Edition

All rights reserved.

Cover photo

Cover design by Robin Ludwig Design, Inc.,


Kindle Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other
people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re
reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use
only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank
you for respecting the author’s work.


is a work of fiction.  Any references to historical events, real people, or
real locales are used fictitiously.  Other names, characters, places, and
incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to
actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


About the Author:

Brande is the award-winning author of EVOLUTION, ME & OTHER FREAKS OF
NATURE (2007), FAT CAT (2009), DOGGIRL (2011), the PARALLELOGRAM series
(2011-2014), and the SECRET SECURITY SQUAD series (2012-2015); REPLAY (2012);
and THE GOOD LIE (2014).

is a former trial attorney, entrepreneur, community college instructor, black
belt, yoga teacher, outdoor adventurer, and certified wilderness medic.  You
can find Robin on-line at:

  Some language and situations not suitable for
younger readers.  Parental guidance advised.


I read this book once where there
was this semi-crazed woman who never did anything important on a Friday because
that was the day her lover left her.  And she never did anything with her left
hand, because that was the hand that had borne the ring given to her by the
lover who had left her.  And so her arm hung useless at her side, and on
Fridays she didn’t leave the house or answer the phone or eat or drink or even
get up to pee, and eventually she died of a burst appendix because it was a
Friday and she refused to call the doctor.

So we won’t be that extreme.  Let’s
just say that on all April 23rds I will take to my bed, pull the covers over my
head, and wait it out until morning.  Because April 23rd is a cursed day.

It was the day of my prom, thank
you very much.

But there’s more to it than just
the prom.  I wouldn’t cross an entire date off my calendar for just that. 
There’s the whole betrayal and disaster and death part of my life that followed
soon after.  And the lawyers and the perjury and the wondering whether I should
stay a virgin and my little brother accusing me of murder.

Now those are reasons to hide under
the covers.

My best friend Posie and I were
hanging around her pool a few weeks ago, after everything had already blown up
and completely gone to hell, and Posie was in her green floral bikini with a
towel over her face to keep from wrinkling prematurely, and I was in my
full-coverage tankini and SPF 1000 hoping I wouldn’t burst into flames just
from being out in actual sunlight for more than ten minutes, and I was lying on
my stomach on Posie’s deck trickling my fingers in the pool, trying to decide
if I should tell her.  But of course I was going to tell her.

“My mother thinks I should see a

Posie lifted her towel and squinted
at me.  “Ex-
me?  You’re the one who’s supposed to see a
psychologist?  What about her?”

“Thank you.”

“Or Mikey?”

“Thank you.”

“It’s not your fault, Lizzie. 

(This is why we love Posie.)

She lay back down and covered her
face again, but half a second later she jolted up.

“And what’s a psychologist supposed
to do?  ‘How do you
about that, Lizzie?’” she mocked.  “‘Tell me
about your father, Lizzie.  Tell me about your mother.’  Please.  What’s the


It happened, it’s done, so why keep
going over it?  Nothing will change.

But maybe it’s like any story you
think you know.  You like to go back to the beginning, like re-reading Genesis,
and remind yourself who did this and who said what, and maybe you’ll see
something this time you didn’t see before.  Maybe the ones you thought were to
blame weren’t after all.  Or maybe everybody played their part in what happened,
God and humanity included.

So I’ll try to tell it again.

In the beginning God created

And Lizzie was without form, and
void, and darkness was upon her.  And the Spirit of God moved within her.

And God saw Lizzie was good.

And then everything went wrong.

If You Could Change One Thing


I wrote this play my freshman year—it
actually won second place in a national contest ($500 in prize money!)—about a
fortune teller who foresees her own death.  She does everything she can to
avoid all the steps she saw leading up to that moment, and she almost succeeds,


It’s the same with all of us,
right?  I think that’s why the contest judges liked my play.  We’ve all had
those experiences where we think, “If only I had done that one thing
differently.  Then I wouldn’t be in this mess.”

But I’ve thought a lot about that
day, and I honestly can’t see where I could have stopped it all from happening.

I woke up early.  My mother was up,
too.  I guess neither of us could sleep.  She sat at the kitchen table in her
bathrobe and nightgown sipping coffee and staring out the window onto our
garden.  She rubbed her eyes when I came in.

“Morning, pumpkin.”

“Morning.”  I kissed her cheek and
stole a sip of her coffee.

“How do you feel?” she asked.

“Tired,” I answered.  “Excited.”  I
took down a bowl from the cupboard and filled it half with coffee, half with
skim milk.  It’s something I saw in a French movie once.  It works best if you
dip your toast in it too, but I wasn’t hungry.

“What time is Posie picking you up

“Around seven.  We want to be there
by quarter to eight.”  I sat across from my mother and sipped from my bowl.  “She’s
coming over this morning, too.  We’re going to work on the outfit some more.”

“I thought it was all ready.”

“Posie has accessories.”

“Do you want me to fix your hair?”

“Sure.  I haven’t decided how to
wear it yet.”

“I think it looks best up, don’t
you?”  My mother demonstrated with her own long hair.  Hers is lighter than
mine thanks to all the highlights, but beneath those she’s dark auburn just
like me.

“I have to see what Posie says.”

“Well,” my mother agreed, “Posie’s
the boss.”

“It has to be down,” Posie told me
an hour later.  “And curled.”  She lofted my hair and let it fall against my
back.  “Definitely down.  Here, try these on.”

She observed from my bed while I
went through the various combinations:  black lace shawl, no shawl; long
chandelier earrings, modest fake diamond studs; short necklaces, long;
wrist-length gloves, elbow-length; white gloves, black; and finally the shoes.

I modeled the black high-topped
Converses I had in mind.

“No,” Posie objected.  “No dressing
like a tomboy.”

“But they’re comfortable.”

“This is your prom.  Comfort is
secondary.”  She produced a bag of shoes she had borrowed from our high school’s
Drama department.  Posie has always treated the clothes there as her own
personal wardrobe.  “Any of these will do.”

We settled on a pair of black
ballet slippers.  They were slightly too large, but I could stuff the toes.

My eight-year-old brother Mikey,
still in his pajamas, wandered in with a bowl of cereal.  He perched on my desk
chair and swung his legs back and forth, watching me like I was a Saturday
morning cartoon.

“What do you think?” I asked him,
twirling around.

“Isn’t your sister gorgeous?” Posie

Mikey nodded and shoveled in more cereal.

“Put the bowl down,” I ordered.  I
held out my arms.  Mikey smiled and shook his head.

“Come on—for me?  I need to


“If I pay you a million dollars?”

“Come on,” Posie coaxed.  “If you
don’t dance with her, you’ll have to dance with me.  And I may kiss you

Mikey vigorously shook his head. 
He hopped off the chair and accepted my waiting arms.  I bent low, clasped his
right hand in mine, and performed my best imitation of a waltz.

“Some day,” I said, “when you’re in
high school, you’re going to fall in love with a beautiful, smart girl—”

“Who plays drums,” Posie added.

“—who plays drums,” I agreed, “and
knows the entire periodic table by heart—”

“—and sings opera—” Posie said.

“And who has a motorcycle,” Mikey

“Okaaay,” I agreed with a shrug
toward Posie.  “And one day you’re going to ask her to the prom, and you’re
going to dance with her just like this.”

“No, I’m not.”

I halted and eyed him sternly.  “What
was that?”

Mikey grinned.  “No, I’m not.”

“I’m sorry, you said yes?”  I
picked him up and twirled him in a fast circle.  Mikey laughed like he was on a


“What was that?”  I swung him
again, twice as fast.


I picked him up and turned him
upside down and gently bounced his head against the carpet.

“Say it!”

“No!” he shouted.  “Do it again!”

I was afraid his cereal might come
up.  “Then now we must add . . . the tickler!”

Posie leapt into action, and soon
it was all over.  Mikey conceded that he would, in fact, one day ask a girl to
the prom, whether or not she had a motorcycle.  I swatted him on the butt.  “Scoot. 
Posie and I have major planning to do.”

He paused at the door and stuck out
his tongue at Posie.  She wiggled her fingers in the air, ready to tickle
again.  Mikey shot out of the room.

Intermission over, Posie went back
to business.  “Let’s talk about the kiss.”

“What kiss?”

“Obviously Chris will kiss you.”

“Obviously not.  Posie, get it
through your head:  Chris is gay.  Everyone knows he’s gay.”

“He’s not gay.  He’s just shy.”

“Shy?  He has a total boy crush on
Jason.  That’s the only reason he’s going.”

“He’s going because he has a crush
on you,” Posie said.  “You just can’t see it.”

“I can see where his eyes go
whenever we’re together.  Straight to Jason’s pants.”

“You’re delusional,” Posie said, “and

“You’re blind,” I returned.

Here’s the thing with Chris.  He’s
a very nice guy—really the nicest—but even if he were totally hetero, he’s not
in the least my type.

First of all, not to be mean, but
he’s not what you’d call a looker.  Shortish, skinny, nerdy in a
not-too-offensive way—you know the type.

And even if he were totally hot,
there’s the problem of him not even coming close to meeting Criterion Number
Two on my Perfect Man list, which is that the guy has to be big enough to carry
me.  Not that I want to be carried, necessarily, but there’s some comfort in
knowing that if I have to be—like in a Scarlett and Rhett moment where the man
decides to haul me up a long flight of stairs to our bedroom—the guy can pull
it off.

Not to mention the subrequirement
that my mate not be able to fit into my same size of jeans.  Chris beats me out
by a few sizes.  I could crush his little bones like a bag of potato chips.

“What about you?” I asked, not
really wanting to hear the answer.

“What, a kiss?  Of course not.”

“He thinks it’s a date, right?”

“We’re going as friends,” Posie
said.  “That’s the arrangement.”

I shook my head as if she were so
naive, but I truly hoped she was right.

Because if Jason were going to kiss
anyone, please let it be me.



Here’s the problem with Jason.

I want to do the right thing.  I’m
committed to doing the right thing.

But when I’m around him, I can’t
help but think about doing everything I really want to do.

Like showing up at his house some
day and not saying a word, but simply taking him by the hand and leading him
downstairs to his basement bedroom, and—


Posie says my image of my wedding
night is me in the bathroom, brushing out my hair, while my husband nervously
paces in the next room.  He turns down the sheet, plumps up the pillows, then
climbs in wearing his pajamas and waits with the sheets drawn up to his chin
for me to emerge from the bathroom wearing my long white satin robe cinched in
at the waist, and then I untie it and let the robe fall to the floor, revealing
my white satin nightgown with the low-cut front, and the music swells and the
lights fade as I slip into bed next to my husband and we embrace.  The end.

Yep.  Sounds about right.

The point is, it’s hard to imagine
the actual Act.  I understand it technically—Part A goes into Part B—but it’s
like reading a manual on horseback riding and then thinking you’ll know how to
actually control a horse.  I knew Jason was way too experienced for me.  I knew
things would get out of hand almost right after the first kiss.

But I still couldn’t stop hoping
for that first kiss.

And it didn’t help that night when
Posie and I met him and Chris at the Doubletree Hotel where the prom was being
staged that he smelled like Irish Spring and aftershave, and that he was
wearing a tux—what man doesn’t look amazing in a tux?—and that his black hair
was all tousled from the wind and his lips spread into this sexy smile the
minute he saw Posie and me come through the door.

“Wow,” he said with genuine

I turned to look at Posie, because
of course he meant her.  She was absolutely stunning.  She wore a floor-length
silver gown, straight from the Drama department’s 1940s collection, so tight it
showed every curve and rib and even the contours of the front of her thong. 
She might as well have spray-painted herself.  Her long curly hair fanned out
over her shoulders like a luxurious brown cape.  She had done some cat eye
thing with her eye liner, and it made her blue-gray eyes look almost

When she showed up at my house to
pick me up, both my parents gawked at her and I thought my mother would never
stop oohh-ing and hugging her.  My father was totally stricken.  He grabbed his
camera and snapped away at both of us, which is why I have so many nice memorials
of one of the worst days of my life.

But Jason’s
wasn’t for
Posie.  It was for me.  For my cleavage, to be exact.

Jason grinned when I met his eye.  “’Bout
time, Lizzie.”

I quickly drew my shawl around me.

“Too late,” Jason said.  “I saw ’em. 
Now I know you’re a girl.”

“Shut up.”  But secretly I was
pleased.  The dress had done its job.  It was a Southern belle gown, black
satin, with a huge hoop skirt underneath.  A dozen circus midgets could have
hidden under there.  The sleeves started midway down my arm, leaving my neck
and shoulders bare.  For once in my life I was showing some skin.

“You look beautiful,” Chris said. 
Posie shot me a look, as if a compliment alone were proof of a guy’s sexuality.

Chris offered me his arm.  He was
wearing a tux, too—both guys’ outfits, I realized, like mine and Posie’s, were
courtesy of our Drama department (the pancake makeup on the collars was the
giveaway)—and he didn’t look bad, for Chris.  I’m sure some nice boy will see
him some day and totally fall in love.

When we entered the Doubletree
ballroom, heads actually did turn.  Posie can do that anywhere, any time.  Her
prom dress was spectacular, of course, but really anything she wears is worth
looking at.  She never just throws something on.  She always thinks it
through:  what mood she’s in, what part she wants to play at any given moment. 
During midterms she chooses among a variety of school uniforms she picked up
the thrift stores.  She says they help her maintain her discipline.

“I don’t really dance,” Chris
confessed to me as we penetrated the crowd.

“Neither do I,” I said.

“So . . . just the slow ones?”


We had lost Posie and Jason.  They
were already on the dance floor.  Chris and I staked out a table and sat back
to enjoy the show.

I know they must have rehearsed. 
No one can come up with moves like that on the spur of the moment.  It was
better than watching
Dancing with the Stars
.  It helped that they’re
both so tall—Jason is 6’1”, Posie 5’8”—and so they were going to stand out
anyway, but they made sure people got their money’s worth when they looked.

I watched in awe, wishing I could
be her for even a fraction of a second.  She was so graceful.  So uninhibited. 
And the way they moved together, it was like they were parts of the same body.  Everything
of hers fit perfectly against his, like puzzle pieces.

Chris and I, on the other hand,
when we finally hit the floor, danced like we were both in full body casts. 
What is it about some of us?  We just don’t know what to do with our arms and
legs. The music plays and suddenly we’re made out of wood.  It probably doesn’t
help that growing up my church drilled into me that dancing is sinful and leads
to pregnancy (I’m not kidding—there was a whole flow chart that proved it), so
I guess I didn’t do too badly that night, considering.

Finally Posie and Jason took a
break and joined us at our table.  Posie’s face streamed with sweat.  Her dress
clung to her even more, if that were possible.

Jason plopped down on the chair
next to me and said, “Ready, Lizzie?  You’re next.”

“No, thank you.”

“What do you mean, no thank you?” 
He popped back up and grabbed my hand, then waved to the DJ, who had no way of
hearing him.  “Maestro, a love song.”

But the next one up was rap.  I sat
back down, relieved.

“Fine, I’ll get us drinks,” Jason
said, “but the next slow song . . .”

I glanced at Posie, expecting her
to help.  She was fanning herself with a napkin, surveying the crowd.

“I promised them all to Chris,” I

Dutiful Chris, in love with the
wrong date, said, “That’s okay.  I yield to the gentleman.”  He did a little
bow to back it up.

Great.  My date was flirting with

I sat there nervously through
choruses of
Who’s got that?  She’s got that.  Who’s got what?  She’s got
what . . .
wondering how many more songs there would be before I’d have to

BOOK: The Good Lie
6.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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